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Wills specialist Richard Phillips answers an Inheritance Law question

Q. I currently live with my Mum and help to look after her in a house that she owns. Her Will leaves everything equally to my two sisters & me, what happens when she dies?

A. When your Mum dies, the first thing that her Executors will do is establish the value of her Estate. This will include the value of the house that you now live in with her.

The Executors will then consider whether you have acquired a personal share of the house by examining a number of different things, such as the household bills you may have been contributing to and, importantly, what your Mum believed she was giving to you by letting you live with her.

If there is proof that you have acquired a personal interest in the property, this will be taken into account when the Executors determine what value falls into your Mum’s estate. It is this value that will then be divided equally between you and your sisters.

If there is no evidence of you having obtained a personal share of the property then the full value of the property will fall into her estate to be equally divided between you and your sisters. It would still be possible for you to keep the house in your name but only if equivalent value can be passed to your sisters using your Mum’s other assets. Another alternative would be for you to purchase your sisters’ shares so they receive a cash sum instead of a share of the property.

This is a complicated area and can become quite unpleasant if you and your sisters begin to compete or there is a dispute over values. It is important to understand that any dispute or disagreement can quickly spiral out of control and has the potential to incur significant legal bills. Our strong recommendation would be to seek specialist advice as early as possible to make sure that everyone concerned understands their position and entitlements under your Mum’s Will.Contact us about our Inheritance & Welfare Team who can advise you today.

Please call 0800 916 9055, or email enquiries@slatergordon.co.uk. Our Wills and probate specialists operate across the country and can offer immediate and accessible representation anywhere in the UK. By Richard Phillips, Inheritance Law Expert

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